What do butterflies eat?

If you ask what butterflies like to eat? I believe that even elementary school students will answer “Nectar.” It turns out that butterflies love more than nectar. Before knowing what butterflies love to eat, you must first understand the structure of the butterfly’s mouth. The mouth of the adult butterfly is a sucking tube, so whatever they eat, it can only be liquid food. 


Nectar contains a lot of sugar and is a favorite food for many butterflies. Flowering plants such as Lantana, Ageratum thistle, Bidens leucocephala, and Dragonfly are the most attractive to adult butterflies. Among them, the nectar content of Lantana can be said to be the crown of various nectar plants. Lantana is very common in Hong Kong. Because of its extremely rich nectar, it just satisfies the larger size and appetite of Papilio butterflies. When some trees bloom, they also attract a large number of butterflies to suck nectar. For example, Duck’s foot is one of the few nectar plants that bloom in winter. Once it blooms, it will attract a large number of butterflies.

Fruit that butterflies eat

Butterflies also love sweet and juicy fruits, such as citrus, mango, and lychee. However, the butterfly’s feet can, of course, not peel off the fruit’s skin, so the juice from the rotten fruit can only be sucked after the fruit rots. Vanessa, eye butterfly, and ring butterfly all like to eat the sap of rotten fruit.


The sap of the trees also contains sugar, which is also the delicacy of butterflies. However, if the butterfly wants to suck the liquid, it has to wait for other insects to bite the bark before it can suck the sap. Among the various families of butterflies, Vanessa and Orchidaceae are the favorites to suck the juice. 

They often gather in groups on tree trunks and suck sap together, like having a gourmet party. Electric nymphs are the species that like to suck liquid the most, and only when they are sucking juice, the electric nymphs will stop obediently on the tree, and we can observe them up close.

A variety of butterflies loves the sap of some trees. For example, the pomelo tree can watch a large number of butterflies because it stays next to the pomelo tree. So butterfly watchers call the pomelo tree the “fairy tree.”


The most unexpected thing is that beautiful butterflies will eat animal excrement! During an outing, we see animal feces that will “avoid it.” However, some butterflies regard it as a delicacy, the taste is unique, and the butterfly is the best of this distinctive taste. It turns out that the excrement of animals and birds still has a small number of nutrients, so it can also attract butterflies to suck.

 But Butterflies also drink water, and butterflies eat?

In addition to food, butterflies also “drink water.” Water contains many minerals, which are very important for butterflies. In the hot summer, the butterfly absorbs water to help lower body temperature. Butterflies like to lie down on the ground with water or on moist soil to drink water. Sometimes after a heavy rain, we will see a large group of butterflies lying on the wet floor and sucking water. They are all quiet and motionless, only concentrating on sucking water. The scene is very spectacular. Swallowtails, white butterflies, and Lycaenidae all have the habit of absorbing water in clusters.

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